This blog entry is about elder abuse and neglect by relatives of the elderly and, perhaps even more importantly, elder abuse – often fatal – by governments.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
— Ronald Reagan
In connection with the topic of this entry, there is an equally hard-hitting reality:
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have an ungrateful child. — King Lear. Shakespeare
Be careful that things such as those reported in the following article will not happen to you.
The Abuse of Grandma B — How Corrupt Officials are plundering the Assets of the Elderly
The Abuse of Grandma B — a sad story told by Peter Hofschröer
Grandma B is now 82 years old. She is wheelchair-bound and very frail. The past three years of her life have been horrendous. She lost her husband of 60 years, but that was the easy part. She has also been the victim of sustained and systematic abuse in which she has been defrauded of her house, subjected to threats and harassment because she will not hand over her life savings to her abusers, then unlawfully evicted from her house and stranded abroad, with her abusers trying, fortunately unsuccessfully, to fraudulently sell her house.
You may well ask who would do such an awful thing to a little, old lady in a wheelchair. Sadly, most abuse takes place within the family and this is very much the case here. The main abusers are Grandma B’s older son, his wife and her two adult grandchildren. (More)
The article chronicles the abuse and defrauding of Grandma B by one of her sons, his wife and some adult grandchildren, but that is not the least of the story. The son and his children are conspiring with the governments to defraud Grandma B of her assets, and a variety of government departments and agencies have become willing and eager accomplices in a whole slew of crimes directed against Grandma B.
Sadly the abuse of Grandma B is not an isolated incident. It is endemic in many nations.
About 20 years ago, the administrator of a hospital in Alberta, who used to stop by at our place on the way home from work, told me: “Walter, today I found 30 healthy people in the hospital.” He waited for a reaction, and I said, “Well, that should not be out of the ordinary. After all, the purpose of a hospital is to produce healthy people.”
He responded, “Yes, and then those healthy people should be sent back home, but in this case some of them have been residing as healthy people, in the hospital, for years, while the hospital earned $1,500 a day for each of them.”
How is something like that possible or even justified? Why would those people wish to reside in a hospital, even though they were healthy? Our neighbour explained that in every case the relatives of those healthy ‘patients’, who at one time had legitimate reasons for being in the hospital, found that, when they wished to go home, there was no home for them to go back to. Their relatives had finagled to sell their homes and assets during those elderly people’s convalescence in the hospital.
Our neighbour eventually managed to find more suitable accommodation for those 30 defrauded people, but he agreed that such abuse of the elderly is endemic.
You may wonder what happens in a hospital that needs the beds occupied by healthy ‘patients’ when the demand for hospital services exceeds the supply, such as when the government implement cost-saving measures that involves cuts in health-care funding.
Some years ago the circumstances surrounding that issue in the largest hospital district in London, England, attracted considerable media attention. The complaints were that elderly people would enter a hospital with minor complaints, such as an arthritic knee, and leave in short order in a pine box, the consequence of the solution to the problem: “Sedate, withhold food and liquids.”
In an interview by the media, the hospital administrators response was: “What do you expect us to do? We need the beds.”
Although euthanasia of the elderly is illegal in England, it is alive and well there.
You may think that the problem does not occur where you live, but consider this situation.
»Each year, an estimated 10,000 patients die in Canadian hospitals as a result of staff errors, while a further 20,000 die from “nonpreventable adverse events,” such as hospital infections and unexpected drug complications. Some research indicates that another 20,000, give or take, may die of unforeseen or preventable causes while under care outside hospitals.
These staggering figures are extrapolated from data collected in the United States, Britain and Australia, but are widely accepted as reasonable approximations. In 1999 the U.S. Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 Americans a year die in hospital due to medical errors, and another million are injured. A 2000 study found that adverse events cause patient harm in ten percent of hospital admissions in Britain, amounting to 850,000 times a year.« —Tragedy of Errors, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Edition, Dec. 2003, p. 76 (Originally published Dec.30, 2002 in MacLean’s)
In case you have trouble doing the addition of the numbers, that adds up to about 50,000 fatalities a year that are caused by the Canadian health care system. Obviously, the situation in the U.S. is very similar. If you are concerned, as eventually you too will be at risk (if you are not already), there is more about all of that here: “Neglected to Death”.